Cannabidiol, better known as CBD oil, is still illegal for most people in Iowa.
But following the passage of the Iowa Hemp Act, which legalized the production of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC, Iowans and local businesses are confused about the legality of CBD in the state, prompting the Iowa Attorney General's Office to warn people that the future of CBD isn't as clear cut as consumers may expect.
What consumers and businesses need to know right now is that until the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves the state's hemp plan, which is expected to happen in the fall, CBD oil at this moment is still a controlled substance and the possession or sale of it could result in criminal charges.
“There’s a lot of confusion,” said Lynn Hicks, spokesperson for the Iowa Attorney General's Office. “We’ve heard from consumers, we’ve heard from people who want to sell products, we’ve heard from doctors about this.”
Okay, so why is there confusion regarding the legality of CBD in Iowa?
It started with the passage of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, which legalized the production of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC, and the use of hemp and its derivatives across state lines.
CBD supporters saw it as a major step, paving the way for CBD oils, lotions and creams to be sold in stores and used.
But under state law, CBD is still considered a controlled substance, according to the Iowa Attorney General's Office.
That was made clear when officers conducted a search and seizure at an Iowa spa earlier this year. In Clermont, T's Brick City Spa was ordered in March by local law enforcement to stop selling CBD and the company's products were seized.
If the USDA approves Iowa's hemp plan, CBD will no longer be considered a controlled substance under state law, meaning consumers won't be arrested for possessing it.
But that doesn't mean it'll be a CBD free-for-all for Iowa businesses, either.
The Iowa Attorney General's Office warns that food and oral products that include CBD, including candies and tinctures, still won't be legal because of the Federal government's Food and Drug Administration's regulations.
So while CBD lotions or cosmetics will be allowed once the USDA approves Iowa's plan, CBD items meant for ingestion, which are some of the blossoming industry's most popular products, still won't be.
The only oral CBD oil in the state that is available legally is through one of the five licensed dispensaries and only for people with state-issued registration cards.
Fewer than 1,500 people in Iowa have one of these licenses.
Linh Ta covers retail for the Register. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-284-8198.